Ray Lewis speaks from heart during acceptance ceremony
It was halftime, but the noise was deafening at M & T Bank Stadium on Sunday as Ray Lewis was inducted into the Ravens Ring of Honor.
He thanked the organization, including former teammates like Jamal Lewis and Jonathan Ogden who were on the field for the halftime ceremony. He thanked his family. He thanked the fans. And with their cheers, their Ray Lewis jerseys, and their screams of “We love you Ray,” Baltimore thanked Lewis for 17 years of excellence on the field, and two Super Bowl championships.
Lewis made his first appearance to the crowd before kickoff, when he walked through the tunnel and was introduced, prior to the defense being introduced. Instead of his uniform and No. 52, Lewis was wearing a suit and a huge smile, not his game-face scowl. The music played, but Lewis didn’t do his signature pre-game dance. He simply waved to the crowd, and soaked up the atmosphere.
“The love that’s out there in that stadium, and the love that this city has for me, and the respect that these players have for me is overwhelming,” Lewis said.
Smith thought that Daryl Smith’s interception return for a touchdown before halftime was symbolic. On Lewis’ day, a Ravens’ linebacker made the kind of big play that he used to.
“He should have just tossed me the ball,” Lewis said laughing.
Lewis said he felt comfortable in retirement, and that being around the team did not make him wistful about his decision to leave the game.
“I gave everything I had,” Lewis said. “It’s my time, it’s my way that I honor God, walking with who I am as a man and being completely happy that the game ii done for me. When I walked out there, I walked out there with a totally different perspective. Every other time, I always walked out there for battle. This time I walked out there as a man, and a complete man. If feels good.”